Fiscal Policy (7 november 1905)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Fiscal Policy is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Times on 7 november 1905.

See also his first letter on the same topic: Fiscal Policy (31 october 1905).

Fiscal Policy

The Times (7 november 1905)


Sir, — In measuring a wave one takes it from this crest to the trough. That is why one measures the free trade wave from its highest point in the early seventies. But if it be insisted that we take our measurements down the side of the wave, regardless of the crest, there will still from five years to five years be seen a drop in the woollen as in so many of our other industries. I append the exports of manufactured woollens in totals for every from 1870 :-

Total. Total.
1870-74 £129,000,000 1890-94 £87,000,000
1875-79 90,000,000 1895-99 82,000,000
1880-84 92,000,000 1900-04 79,000,000
1885-89 100,000,000

This drop is in the face of an increasing population and a steady increase in the import of foreign woollens.

If the reason lay, as Lord Avebury says, in the fact that more money is needed for public purposes and therefore less remains for private use, one would imagine that we should buy fewer foreign imports. But this is not the case. Lord Avebury's contention would, therefore, have to take the form that we have less money to buy our own manufactured products but more to buy the foreigner's, which does not appear to be a tenable proposition.

Surely the reason of the steady fall is not far to seek when we see that our trade is shut off from country after country by ever-rising tariffs. And how can we persuade these Governments to reduce their tariffs save by making them understand that they cannot cripple us without being in turn crippled by us ? Then they would surely listen to reason, and we should have some chance of free selling as well as free buying. With all respect for Lord Avebury's opinion. I think that only in this way can we ever hope te gel real free trade.

Yours faithfully,

Undershaw, Hindhead, Haslemere, Nov. 2.